Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 86: Media and Reconciliation (84-86)

Kwantlen Polytechnic University – Journalism and Communication Studies

April 16, 2024

KPU’s Bachelor of Journalism program is the only four-year journalism program in Metro Vancouver. Students use industry-standard software to produce journalism that draws on the full range of multimedia storytelling possibilities, including photography, audio, video, and data visualization. Students participate in academic study and practical training through seminars, labs, and real-world experience. The Journalism program prepares graduates for positions such as multimedia journalists, editors, web writers, and freelance journalists. Our grads also work as communications professionals in fields such as media relations, corporate communications, and public relations. The Bachelor of Journalism gives students valuable research and communication skills that can be used in many fields.

Communication Studies courses are also an important part of the program, including exploration of issues such as media law and ethics, media and diversity, and media and social change.

Students who earn the Bachelor of Journalism or who take our courses as electives while studying another major will get valuable transferable skills that can be put to use in many fields, including using social media and journalistic research skills in a professional setting. Any student can take our courses as Arts electives, whether they’re getting a Journalism degree or a major in something else, or haven’t figured that out yet. 

You can also pursue a Bachelor of Journalism and a Diploma in Public Relations at the same time while at KPU.

The Faculty of Journalism and Communications Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

KPU’s Journalism program is committed to supporting Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization in our program and the journalism industry as a whole. We believe journalism is stronger when it is produced by and includes the voices of people from a variety of different backgrounds and perspectives.

We recognize the harms done to minority communities by journalists in the past, including perpetuating negative stereotypes and inciting fear of those who are different.

We acknowledge the harms done to Indigenous people by journalists in the past. By seeking out and including Indigenous voices, considering colonialism in our reporting and reporting on news important to Indigenous communities, we believe journalists can play an important role in reconciliation moving forward.

We want all students to feel welcome in our program, including those who are Black, Indigenous, people of colour, 2SLBGTQ+ and/or living with a disability.

To that end:

  • We will encourage and support students from under-represented groups to pursue a Bachelor of Journalism degree.
  • We will work to ensure guest speakers in our classroom come from diverse backgrounds.
  • When featuring graduates of our program on our website and in promotional materials, we will work to make sure they reflect the diversity of the students in our program.
  • We have made INDG 1100 Introduction to Indigenous Studies a required course for the Bachelor of Journalism degree, in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 86.
  • We will integrate readings, assignments and examples in our classroom that encourage students to reflect on issues of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization.
  • We will encourage candidates from under-represented groups to apply for faculty positions with our department.
  • We will encourage students to seek out and include Indigenous voices in their reporting, including the wisdom of Elders and other Indigenous ways of knowing.
  • We will encourage journalism students to interview sources that reflect the diversity of the community they’re reporting on.

KPU’s Journalism program commits to developing an action plan to implement the goals in this statement and to review progress towards those goals on an annual basis.

2023 Action Plan and Progress Report.pdf

Kwantlen Polytechnic

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Kwantlen, a name generously bestowed to us by the Kwantlen First Nation, translates to “tireless runner.” In our obligation to live up to this name, we recognize that advancing equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization (EDID) depends on the ongoing work and tireless commitment of all KPU community members.

xéʔelɬ Pathway to Systemic Transformation

The xéʔelɬ Pathway to Systemic Transformation Framework is Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s response and commitment to upholding the responsibilities expressed through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, the Calls for Justice stemming from the Nation Inquiry into Missing and Murder Indigenous Woman, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Call to Action #86

We call upon Canadian journalism programs and media schools to require education for all students on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. 

Mandatory Course: Yes

INDG 1100 Introduction to Indigenous Studies

Students will learn about the histories, cultures, and contemporary situation of Indigenous peoples in North America, with special attention to Indigenous peoples in Canada. They will explore pre-contact histories and cultures, and critically examine and challenge assumptions acquired from colonial culture. Students will develop informed views on Indigenous cultures and histories. Students will be exposed to elements of Indigenous teachings and traditional knowledge from various Indigenous perspectives, including those of Elders and local communities.

1The history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools
Yes – Covered by INDG 1100 Introduction to Indigenous Studies
2The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
No – Not mentioned.
3Treaties and Aboriginal rights
Yes – Covered by INDG 1100 Introduction to Indigenous Studies
4Indigenous law
Yes – Not explicitly addressed buy but assumed covered by INDG 1100
5Aboriginal–Crown Relations
Yes – Covered by INDG 1100 Introduction to Indigenous Studies

Land Acknowledgement

Located on university’s Home Page:

“Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) takes its name from the Kwantlen First Nation.

We at Kwantlen Polytechnic University respectfully acknowledge that we live, work and study in a region that overlaps with the unceded traditional and ancestral First Nations territories of the Musqueam, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen, Qayqayt, and Kwikwetlem, and with the lands of the Kwantlen First Nation, which gifted its name to this university.

Proudly sharing the name of the Kwantlen First Nation, the word ‘Kwantlen’ means Tireless Runner, and is reflected in the university’s motto: “through tireless effort, knowledge, and understanding.” The representation of a wolf and salmon in KPU’s Coat of Arms, was created by former KPU Fine Arts student, Brandon Gabriel, nephew of the hereditary Chief of the Kwantlen People, Chief Marilyn Gabriel.

All content has been submitted to the respective faculty for validation to ensure accuracy and currency as of the time of posting. Kwantlen Polytechnic – Journalism and Communication Studies reviewed and approved the document.

Managing Editor: Douglas Sinclair: Publisher, Indigenous Watchdog
Lead Researcher: Timothy Maton: Ph.D